5 Burning Questions: Week 5 (Fantasy Football)
Last week we questioned how good Daniel Jones actually is and whether spending 50 FAAB on Wayne Gallman would be worth it. While Gallman performed admirably, it seems as though Saquon Barkley will be back next week. This week we pivot toward Melvin Gordon and a handful of quarterbacks. Here are the five burning questions going into Week 5:
Does Melvin Gordon pick up where he left off from last year? What happens to Austin Ekeler?
Gordon’s holdout could not have gone the way he planned. Austin Ekeler filled his shoes as if nothing had changed (he’s currently the RB2 in half PPR scoring), he lost out on close to $1 million in base salary, and he ended his holdout after just three games with no new contract to show for it. Now that he’s back though, will he return to everything he was last season? In 2018, Gordon had a 74.7% snap share and was the RB6 overall through 11 weeks before getting injured. He was used in the passing game more than ever, setting a new career-high in receiving yards at 490 in only 12 games.
According to head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers plan to ease Gordon into the fold in his debut against the Broncos, and then continue to build his workload as he continues to get more practice reps in. All signs point to Gordon reclaiming his starting position once he is ready, but that doesn’t quite render Ekeler useless. Ekeler was the RB27 through the first 11 weeks last season with Gordon as the starter, so even if the split is exactly the same, he still holds RB3/Flex value, and with the work he put in through the first four games, it’s possibly he earned a slightly bigger piece of the pie even with Gordon as a full go.
Who will the Redskins subject to the mercy of the Patriots’ defense?
Last week, Dwayne Haskins‘ first experience in a regular-season game went about as unceremoniously as possible, and to add insult to injury, he was beaten up by a defense that had previously given up 35, 28, and 31 points to the Cowboys, Bills, and Bucs. Now, the Redskins have Case Keenum in a walking boot again, Colt McCoy and Dwayne Haskins fighting for the starting nod in Week 5, and “no plan” at the quarterback position according to head coach (for now) Jay Gruden.
The Patriots defense didn’t give up their first offensive touchdown until midway through Week 4, so whichever quarterback they throw out there is going to have his hands full, and about zero players in Washington will be fantasy relevant, but what is the plan going forward? The list of problems in Washington is longer than I can count, from the front office to the coaching positions, so it’s impossible to know who wants what. It seems, however, that the most important decision-makers want to see what they have in Haskins and get him as much playing time as possible. If things keep going as bad as they are now, the Redskins could be in a position to potentially draft Tua Tagovailoa.
Can Kirk Cousins find a rhythm this week against the Giants?
Since 2015, Kirk Cousins has finished each season as QB10, QB5, QB5, and QB13. Through the first quarter of the 2019 season, he’s the QB25. It’s clear that the Vikings want to run the football, and with Dalvin Cook they’ve been able to do so efficiently, but with weapons like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs at his disposal, you’d think Cousins would be a bit more productive. He has a chance to break out this week, but will any fantasy owner be willing to trust a guy who’s averaging only 183 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game?
Before shutting down Dwayne Haskins in his first career appearance, the Giants defense had given up eight passing touchdowns to Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, and Jameis Winston. Janoris Jenkins is a ghost of his former self and he’s still the best player they have in their secondary. If Cousins can’t produce a QB1 level fantasy performance against the Giants, it may be time to jump ship, but I’d hold on to him for this juicy matchup.
Is this the Jameis Winston we’ve been waiting for? Could he produce two WR1s?
The Jameis Winston offseason hype train came to a screeching halt when after two games, he had thrown just two touchdowns compared to three interceptions and had passing yard totals of 194 and 208. In Weeks 3 and 4 however, Jameis threw seven touchdowns compared to two interceptions and had passing yard totals of 380 and 385. Jameis truthers have found new life, but is this the Jameis we’re going to see moving forward? And can Chris Godwin and Mike Evans both be WR1s?
Having two top-12 wide receivers from the same team has actually happened seven times over the last five seasons: Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster in 2018, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in 2018, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams in 2016, Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks in 2016, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in 2015, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015, and Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in 2014. The quarterbacks that pulled it off were Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The way Jameis has looked over the past two weeks is a lot closer to what I expected in the offseason, and I believe his hot streak will continue. Evans and Godwin is arguably the best wide receiver duo in the league and they’ve each scored four touchdowns through four weeks, Bruce Arians leads a pass-heavy offense, and the Bucs running game is looking significantly stronger than last year with Ronald Jones showing improvement in his sophomore season. With everything around him putting him in a position to succeed, Jameis himself is the only thing that can get in his way.
Is Gardner Minshew making the Jaguars a legitimate offensive threat?
Under Blake Bortles, the Jaguars offense was shaky at best, and in 2018 they were a bottom-6 group in both offensive points and yards. They weren’t expected to be on offensive juggernaut by any means under Nick Foles, but things took an unexpected turn when Foles’ season ended halfway through Week 1 and rookie sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew took the reigns. Apart from being a national sensation, Minshew has played extremely well. In his four games, he’s thrown seven touchdowns to only one interception and had quarterback ratings of 122.5, 97.2, 108.2, and 97.2.
DJ Chark and Dede Westbrook are both establishing themselves as reliable options, and Leonard Fournette has been heavily involved in the passing game with 16 receptions on 23 targets through four games. Minshew has shown the ability to extend plays outside of the pocket and create opportunities, he’s the most exciting quarterback the Jaguars have had in some time. I believe this offense will be much more dangerous and productive with the football in his hands.